Luke Ellis is a telekinetic and later telepathic twelve year old boy. He was abducted by the Institute and taken there while his parents were brutally murdered. During his time there, he was subjected to several acts of child abuse such as inhumane tests, physical assaults and near death experiences.
Luke is seen at the start of the book as a typical twelve year old boy, who likes things such as video games, girls and hanging with his best friend Rolf. He is also extremely bright, which results in him sitting a test in a college institution to see if he could transfer to a school for smarter school students. His telekinesis is shown for the first time when he knocks over a pizza pan at a restaurant which he visits with his parents, Eileen and Herb. That night, Eileen and Herb are brutally murdered by invaders and Luke is put into unconsciousness by gas. Luke later wakes up in a bedroom that looks exactly like his bedroom but is missing a window. He notices that he is not in his home and after walking down a corridor meets Kalisha Benson. Kalisha informs him where he is and takes him to meet the other children imprisoned in The Institute. At lunch, Luke is taken to his first test, where he tries to act tough but is easily intimidated by the staff. He later meets Julia Sigsby, the manager of The Institute, who informs him he is here to serve his country. As time goes by, Luke befriends one of the maids Maureen Alvorson and another child named Avery Dixon, who has strong telepathic powers. He also starts to wonder about the status of his parents. A Google search confirms to Luke his parents were murdered. This urges Luke to escape.
Thanks to the help of Maureen Alvorson and Avery Dixon, he does escape but is injured several times and almost dies a few times. He stowed away on a freight train and jumped off at Dupray, where he was discovered by Tim Jamieson. Tim was skeptical of Luke’s story but later came to believe it when Julia Sigsby and several Institute workers come to kidnap Luke. In the process, everyone in the Dupray PD is killed except Tim and his girlfriend Wendy Gullickson as well as all the Institute staff except Julia and Dr. Evans. With the help of Tim, they rescued several of the children from The Institute. Luke witnesses Avery’s telekinesis completely destroy the Institute, which kills Avery, all remaining staff and children inside and on top the building. In the aftermath, Luke has severe PTSD but manages it fairly well. Luke's friends all split up and go to their relative's place with coverup stories about being kidnapped. Due to the death of his parents, Luke lives with Wendy and Tim.